Twitter and Facebook experienced network issues around 9 am EST. Like millions, I couldn’t reach or reply to people I needed to within this time frame. For many of the people I needed to respond to, I didn’t have their mobile numbers or email addresses. The problem was much worse for big and small companies alike that have outsourced large amounts of their customer service to Twitter. They couldn’t respond to the customer tweets that poured in this morning.
A few of the following examples by the Jacksonville News showcase this issue. Ryan Thompson works for the Dalton Agency, which is a PR firm. What happened when he couldn’t get on Twitter this morning?”I was panicking,” Thompson said.Thompson works for the Dalton Agency, a local PR firm.To a lot of his clients, Twitter isn’t fun, it’s business.”Just trying to monitor what’s going on with our clients,” Thompson said. “There’s a lot of interest and a lot of value knowing what the general public thinks about clients of ours. Being in touch with Twitter let’s us keep a constant pulse and beat in terms of what everybody else is saying.”
When one woman found out about the Twitter outage, she started worrying about her mom.”My mom uses it for business,” Jana Lambert said. “She communicates on it all day long.”
Symantec blogger Marian Merritt posted an explanation for the outage “It’s often the case that DDoS attacks come from computers infected with bots, turning them into zombie computers doing their cybercriminal’s bidding. ”
“There are people that, for whatever motives, want to bring other people’s companies and services to a halt,” said Walt Mossberg personal technology journalist for the Wall Street Journal on this WSJ Blog. “We need to make these things serious crimes, and we need to get smart in law enforcement, much smarter than we are now, about trying to stop them. I don’t see it as any different than somebody going into a physical business and shooting it up or shutting it down or blocking access to it.”
Mossberg added that while Twitter has millions of users, the start-up is lightly staffed. “When they get hit by something like this, it undoubtedly puts a big strain on them.”
While this was going on many businesses and individuals hopped over to Facebook as a back-up to only find that that too wasn’t functioning properly. It was later confirmed that Facebook suffered some network issues in several countries.
“When they were both down, I thought, oh no my company has decided to block these while I’m at work! I was relieved when I found out that everyone was having the same issues,” said one employee.
Yes, we are all relieved that the Twitter outage and Facebook outage were short-lived this time, but isn’t it a little disconcerting how quickly we’ve become addicted to the social media crack?